capsule review

Monochrome Handhelds

At a Glance
  • Handspring HANDSPRING VISOR NEO

    Macworld Rating
  • Palm PALM M125

    Macworld Rating

Though Palm OS based PDAshave been the choice of Mac users since the PalmPilot showed up in 1997, today's models sport even more features and cooler case designs. We tried out the m125, from Palm, and the Visor Neo, from Handspring--both of which offer good storage options--and found the Visor Neo to be the worthier road warrior.

Two for the Road

Both of these PDAs have 8MB of on-board RAM, enough to hold quite a few applications and thousands of addresses and appointments. Both also have 33MHz processors, which can handle most commands in an instant.

The m125 has a curvy, U-shaped design, and its casing is a bit smaller than the Neo's. But the m125's screen is disproportionately tiny, making text difficult to read.

To use the Neo, you must remove the cover completely, which means you have to find a place for it. In contrast, the m125 has a lid that flips over and behind the PDA--a more convenient design.

Unfortunately, Palm Desktop, the software that lets you sync your Palm OS device with your Mac, is not yet compatible with Mac OS X or the Classic environment. If you use OS X, you'll have to reboot into OS 9 to connect with either PDA.

Both PDAs have slots for media cards that can store files such as MP3s, photos, and reference volumes. These storage methods work quickly, seamlessly, and easily. The m125 accepts both SD (Secure Digital) and SmartMedia cards, which you can keep in a wallet. The Neo's slot supports SpringBoard backup modules, some of which can accommodate SmartMedia and Compact Flash cards. But unlike the slot in the m125, SpringBoard slots are not just for storage cards--they can handle peripherals such as MP3 players and GPS receivers, significantly extending the Neo's expandability.

Macworld's Buying Advice

The Palm m125 is certainly an attractive PDA. But if expansion options and an easy-to-read screen are what you're looking for, you'll prefer the Handspring Visor Neo.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating
  • Macworld Rating
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